Interview with author Ian Jackson

Welcome to another guest interview here on The Writing Piazza. Today I will be doing an author interview with my guest Ian Jackson, creator of the novel Dead Charming. Ian, welcome to the blog. We’re glad you’re here and we appreciate you taking the time to do this interview with us. 🙂

Can you please start by telling my readers a little about yourself?

Ian Jackson

Ian:
I’m from Liverpool, England. I was born to immigrant parents. I’m actually half Lithuanian and half Irish and I’m never sure which one is the good half! I’ve been writing for national newspapers and magazines since the mid 1990’s and it’s something I’ve always loved.

The Writing Piazza:
That sounds exciting! Writing for newspapers and magazines is a lot different then writing books. What made you decide to branch out and write a full length novel?

Ian:
I’ve always written as a career and to a large degree when you work for a newspaper or magazine the context is decided for you. I wanted to write about something that I enjoy – crime and thrillers.

The Writing Piazza:
I can see how that would be appealing. And thus the crime thriller Dead Charming was born.  Can you tell my readers a little about it?

Ian:
Yes, it’s a crime thriller based in Manchester, Bury and Oldham. The book follows the progress of Jenny Foster, a novice criminal profiler attached to the Manchester Metropolitan Police. Her first case sees her pitted against a determined and well organized criminal who she’s forced to use all of her skills to try and stop. Jenny’s story tests the moral compass of my reader and I hope keeps them on the edge of their seats from start to finish – many reviews talk about a reader being ‘hooked’ and finishing the book in a day – they must stay up all night as the novel runs to more than 138,000 words!

The Writing Piazza:
Yes, that does take dedication to finish such a lengthy book in one go. But that’s a testament to your story. Every writer wants to write a book that the reader just can’t put down! And Dead Charming is your first published novel?

Ian:
Yes it is.

The Writing Piazza:
On my blog I like to offer a behind the scenes look at what it’s like to write and publish novels. Can you tell us a bit about your journey to write your book?

Ian:
I began toying with the idea more than three years ago and I shredded many first attempts due to a lack of confidence. Then in October 2013 I made myself a promise that I would keep going until I’d finished the book – it took me nine months to complete.

The Writing Piazza:
I certainly feel your frustrations and insecurities. I have had many times where I questioned the work I’ve written. It’s a tough road but it’s always so good to hear stories of perseverance!

I see you’re signed with Percy Publishing and that you have an agent, was that something you pursued?

Ian:
Yes, I didn’t want to self-publish, I wanted a literary agent to be confident enough in my work that they would introduce me to a publisher; which they did. My agent is Ruth Killeen Literary Agent and she believed in me from the start, for which I am eternally grateful.

The Writing Piazza:
It is a difficult road, so it’s good to have someone who believes in your work to help introduce you to publishers. But even traditional publishing has its own set of difficulties. What were some of the obstacles you faced in publishing?

Ian:
I submitted my sample and synopsis to more than fifty literary agents, most of whom (60%) didn’t even answer my e-mail. Getting published is possibly the most difficult and frustrating process that I have ever faced – it took real dedication to get there in the end.

The Writing Piazza:
Something to look forward to I suppose. Haha. I’ve only had a few rejection letters so far but I just started. At least I know I’m in good company and it’s just part of the process. 🙂

A question I often like to ask because it always spurs such great advice, what is one thing you wish you had known before you published?

Ian:
That you couldn’t submit twice! An agent would write back with suggestions, I would make alterations and re-submit only to be informed that I should have been more thorough first time! Terrifically frustrating, but I suppose it taught me many lessons in patience!

The Writing Piazza:
Yes, that is a frustrating aspect! I suppose it was good that you at least got a response. With how busy agents are sometimes they don’t have time to write back to everyone and usually you get a generic response. To me it seems like it would be a step up to get feedback, of course when it happens I’m sure it just feels all the more frustrating because you were that much closer to finding someone interested in taking you on as a client. It’s a tough business to be in. “Don’t quit your day job.” Is a phrase you hear a lot as a writer. You had mentioned that you work full time and write in your free time. Are you hoping to one day make writing a full time job?

Ian:
That is my ambition. I would love to read, write and play golf somewhere hot.

The Writing Piazza:
That sounds like the perfect life! I love to golf and warm climates. In pursuit of your goals are you currently working on another book?

Ian:
Yes, I have just submitted the manuscript for my second book to Percy Publishing. It has a working title of Dead Precious and should be available for readers in June this year. I already have a plan in place for my third novel and want to see it in print before the end of the year – I have a tight schedule!

The Writing Piazza:
Wow, that is ambitious! Especially when you’re working another job as well. Good luck with your plans, I’m sure you’ll do great. You don’t seem like someone who would stop before you accomplish what you set out to accomplish. As we wrap up this interview, what advice would you give to my readers who are also pursuing or hoping to pursue a literary career?

Ian:
Be yourself and write in your own style. Writing workshops and courses are all great, but they tend to conveyor-belt out the same kind of writing style. Make your work your own unique voice and be confident that people will love it!

The Writing Piazza:
Wonderful! I always love inspirational advice. It’s highly motivating and something we really need for this line of work. Thank you so much for your time, just one more thing, can you please tell my readers where they can go to purchase your book?

Ian:
Amazon UK: Buy Dead Charming Now

Amazon.com: Buy Dead Charming Now

The Writing Piazza:
And if they’d like to connect with you, do you have a way they could do that?

Ian:
Website: www.ian-d-jackson.com
Twitter: @crimenovel
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iandjacksonauthor?pnref=story

Readers can also come and meet me and I’ll happily sign their copy of Dead Charming at Waterstones, 4, Union Arcade, Bury, Lancashire BL9 0OF between 2pm and 4pm on Saturday 18th April 2015.

The Writing Piazza:
This concludes our interview with author Ian Jackson. Hope you enjoyed it and that you’ll join us for again in the future for our weekly guest interview here on The Writing Piazza. Thank you Ian for joining us. And of course we would love to thank all of you for stopping by to read this interview. You make all the work that goes into these interviews worthwhile. Have a lovely weekend and remember, your voice is unique so don’t be afraid to shout it out. Unless you’re in the library, then please just whisper with purpose.

Until we meet again.

 

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